Tim Curry Didn't Know What He Was Getting Into When He Agreed To Legend

Ridley Scott's "Legend" might be the closest thing we've gotten to a "Legend of Zelda" movie so far. The film came out in 1985, just a year before Nintendo's beloved fantasy-adventure video game series was created. Even so, the parallels between the two are hard to miss. Tom Cruise stars in "Legend" as Jack, a hero who has long hair and wears a green tunic. There's also a princess in the movie ("Ferris Bueller's Day Off" star Mia Sara in her screen debut) who gets kidnapped by a tall, demonic figure bent on ruling their magical homeland. See what I mean?

A critical and box office failure upon its theatrical release, "Legend" has gone on to amass a cult following. Similar to "Blade Runner," this was partly the result of a director's cut being released on DVD in 2002, with over 20 minutes of added footage and the original score by Jerry Goldsmith restored. But more than its fantastic sets and creature designs (this is a Ridley Scott film, after all), there is one aspect that everyone seems to remember above all else in the movie. 

That would be Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness, a devilish being who — along with David Bowie's goblin king Jareth in "Labyrinth" — is responsible for many a young fantasy fan's sexual awakening. Unlike Bowie, however, Curry had to don layers of makeup, prosthetics, and more to bring his sinister, seductive fantasy villain to life. What he didn't know was that he would end up spending as many as eight hours a day in the makeup chair during filming, with everything from his eyes to his teeth and his entire face covered.

Big horns and long legs

According to Monsters of Makeup, Curry has already signed on for "Legend" before the design for the Lord of Darkness had been finalized. Much to his concern, he found that with each new piece of concept art, more and more of his actual face was being covered over to play the character. His attempts to avoid wearing contact lenses didn't pan out, either. When all was said and done, the Lord of Darkness was devoid of any distinctly human features, from his "cat-like orbs" to his "faun-like ears" (as the outlet described them).

The process of applying Curry's makeup and costume took eight hours a day at first, although the film's artists shaved it down to a "mere" five-and-a-half hours after a while. Of course, it wasn't just his face they were altering. His hands were also fitted with devilish nails and skin, with three-foot-long fiberglass horns strapped to the top of his head. The horns were initially too heavy and had to be reduced so as to avoid straining Curry's back. In their final form, Scott found it "weird" and "disarming" how light they actually were.

Where Curry was his regular height playing the monstrous Pennywise the Dancing Clown in the "IT" mini-series, his role in "Legend" further saw the actor wear 18-inch stilts to create the Lord of Darkness' hoofed feet. Between his stilts, horns, and his own height, it's likely Curry stood over 10 feet tall while playing the character. That's almost two Tom Cruises stacked on each other's shoulders.

Does the man or the makeup make the monster?

Curry's "Legend" getup (which, on top of everything else, includes what seems to be dark lipstick and fake fangs) was just as difficult to remove as it was to put on. Every day, after filming was finished, Curry would have to sit in a bath for an hour just to remove all the adhesives that had been applied to him face and body. He couldn't remove the makeup by force, either, as he learned the hard way after losing patience one day and trying to rip the material off, tearing up his skin in the process. Scott spent a week shooting around Curry to "calm him down" after.

In his review of "Legend," Roger Ebert praised Curry, writing that he "makes an effective Darkness; I liked his style." But Ebert also felt the actor's makeup was a little too potent, arguing, "almost any actor could be lurking inside there (only Curry's sensuous lips give him away)." I would counter that it's Curry's luscious voice and line delivery that really makes the character come alive. All the prosthetics in the world can't compare to the alluring sound of Dr. Frank-N-Furter crooning, "My dream is of eternity with you."